Crowds gather for the dedication of the original Ida A. Knudson Fountain that was located in front of the old city hall on Jensen Way. (Poulsbo Historical Society)

Crowds gather for the dedication of the original Ida A. Knudson Fountain that was located in front of the old city hall on Jensen Way. (Poulsbo Historical Society)

Ida’s fountain: Residents renew a tribute to an individual’s caring and compassion for others

POULSBO — A group of Poulsbo residents wants to restore a fountain honoring Ida A. Knudson as a reminder of the city’s appreciation for its volunteers and caregivers. And the City Council agrees.

Back in the 1960s, the Ida A. Knudson Fountain graced the front of Poulsbo’s old city hall across from Moe Street on Jensen Way. It sent up sprays of water with lights that made the droplets change color at night.

It’s gone now, removed when the old city hall was torn down to eventually make way for a new apartment complex.

All that’s left of the fountain is a tarnished bronze plaque that reads “In memory of Ida A. Knudson.”

Now, with the City Council’s unanimous approval on Sept. 6, a citizens committee will be formed “to evaluate, locate and design a replacement fountain.”

Tom Henderson of GTH Designs, who prepared the proposal, envisions a new outdoor memorial garden that would “reflect and respect the early pioneers, leaders and significant citizens for their timeless and caring contributions to the Poulsbo and North Kitsap community.”

“A promise was made that the fountain would be rebuilt at the new city hall,” Mayor Becky Erickson said.

The plan is to have a new fountain and landscaped courtyard located on the east — uphill — entrance to the new city hall that leads to the Poulsbo Historical Society museum. As envisioned, the water feature would include seating and would be constructed of native Northwest materials. In a nod to sustainability, the water in the fountain would come from a roof water collection system powered through solar panels and storage batteries.

Once the committee is satisfied, the group will come back to the council with a budget amendment and a finished design, Henderson wrote. The fountain and courtyard are not in the city’s current budget.

According to an Aug. 21, 1968 article, the original fountain was “erected as a tribute to the late Mrs. Ida Knudson (June 26, 1898 — April 7, 1967) … who had been active in dozens of community organizations.”

But there’s more to the story than a count of Knudson’s memberships.

“If word got out of a family [that] was in need of food or clothes, Ida stepped quickly into the situation without giving it a second thought, and organized the community resources needed to meet the need,” according to her profile in “The Spirit of Poulsbo.” “She literally was a one-woman clearing house of caring for the community.”

In Knudson’s obituary, the Rev. Frithjof Eide eulogized her, saying she made the motto of William Penn her own: “If, therefore, there be any kindness I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”

— Terryl Asla is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. tasla@soundpublishing.com.

The Knudson family gathered for a photo the day of the fountain’s dedication. (Poulsbo Historical Society)

The Knudson family gathered for a photo the day of the fountain’s dedication. (Poulsbo Historical Society)

Back in the 1960s, the Ida A. Knudson fountain graced the front of Poulsbo’s old city hall across on Jensen Way. It sent up sprays of water with lights that made the droplets change color at night. (Poulsbo Historical Society)

Back in the 1960s, the Ida A. Knudson fountain graced the front of Poulsbo’s old city hall across on Jensen Way. It sent up sprays of water with lights that made the droplets change color at night. (Poulsbo Historical Society)

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